Girls learn STEM careers at YSU

YOUNGSTOWN — Area girls in sixth to 12th grades spent the day at Youngstown State University exploring career fields that traditionally are not filled by women.

The 22nd annual Women in STEM Day was held Saturday. STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math.

More than 85 girls from Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties attended classes on engineering and computer programming.

Dr. Diana Fagan, event coordinator with department of biology, said the speakers included Sandra Maddock, president and CEO of IMARC Research. “Her company meets with hospitals and physicians to test new devices and new drugs,” Fagan said.

Fagan said the day began with panel discussions and several speakers in science, engineering and health-care fields sharing what they do at work and how they got to where they are today.

In the afternoon, the girls met with professors and graduate students in labs and classrooms. There were hands-on activities in science, chemistry and anthropology labs.

Fagan said the DNA fingerprinting in the biology department’s newly renovated labs was popular. Also well attended was a forensics crime scene and engineering skills.

Dr. Nina Stourman, professor of chemistry, said chemistry and bio-chemistry students with American Chemical Society YSU chapter, assisted the girls, who had to solve six chemistry mysteries to figure out science-related problems.

“This lets them see what chemistry and biology fields are like and what training is needed,” she said.

Sarah Eisnaugle, coordinator and instructor at Youngstown State University biology department, said she led activities on how DNA is used at crime scenes.

Sophia DeRhodes, a sixth-grader at St. Rose School in Girard, said she is interested in a career in chemical engineering and liked having the opportunity to see various career fields.

She said she learned about forensic science and how the biology and chemistry labs teach skills to be used to help solve crimes.